Category Archives: Sponsorship and donations

You did it! Thank you, and what's next for you and the Ada Initiative!

80 women cheering and wearing many different colors, CC BY-SA Jenna Saint Martin Photo

CC BY-SA Jenna Saint Martin Photo


You did it! Over 1100 donors gave over $206,000 to our 2014 fundraising drive. We reached our original goal of $150,000 with 3 days to go, and then you gave another $56,000!!!

This month alone has made a real difference for women in open technology and culture. Not only will your generous donations help fund our 2014-2015 plans including four AdaCamp unconferences for women, the launch of Impostor Syndrome training as a standalone class, and dozens of Ally Skills Workshops, as a direct result of your generous gifts, we are:

Good fundraising is also good activism, and this drive was no exception! Functional programmers banded together not only to raise money but to call on the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) to better publicize their anti-harassment policies. Liz Henry called on hackerspaces to list their anti-harassment policies on the hackerspaces wiki, or adopt a policy if they didn't have one. Several companies and organizations contacted the Ada Initiative to book Ally Skills Workshops or to ask for free consulting on implementing anti-harassment policies.

A woman wearing a fedora with a "Not afraid to say the F-word: Feminism" sticker on it

Which f-word is that?

Good fundraising is also FUN! As a result of this fundraiser, librarians practically have a costume ball going on at an upcoming conference, and they have a new cat-themed skin for open source library catalogue system Koha. Functional programmers threatened to post a video of themselves singing filk songs. Feminists everywhere took selfies while wearing silly hats. As supporter Ryan Kennedy put it on Twitter, "thanks to @adainitiative for working with me to put together a fundraising campaign for them. A+…would fundraise again."

"F-word: Feminism" sticker available for one more week

Black and white sticker with text reading "Not afraid to say the F-WORD adainitiative.org"

Over 1000 donors have proved that they aren't afraid to say the F-word: FEMINISM! As a thank you, we're making our "Not afraid to say the F-word" stickers available to donors who donate before October 15th, 2014. "Not afraid to say the F-word" t-shirts won't be available till later in the year, but stay in touch to get the first announcement when they are ready!

Donate now

Staying involved

A woman explains while a man listens

Ally Skills Workshop discussion

Donating is just one way to support women in open technology and culture. Check out our list of ways people can help in their everyday lives. Corporations interested in the open technology and culture space can get involved in several ways as well. Consider booking an Ally Skills Workshop at your workplace or conference. If you are a feminist woman in open tech/culture, you can apply to attend our 2015 AdaCamps when we announce registration opening. And you can keep up to date with the Ada Initiative's work, AdaCamp and other event announcements, scholarships, calls to action, and similar ways to be part of the movement for change by keeping in touch with us.

Thanks and appreciation

An extraordinary coalition of individuals, communities, and corporations helped make our next year of work possible. We are incredibly grateful to everyone who donated their time, social capital, or money.

We are very happy that fundraising was such a positive experience for so many of our supporters. It was an uplifting, encouraging experience for us as well, thanks in large part to the many advisors and support staff who were part of making our next year's work possible.

Guido van Rossum wearing "Python is for girls" shirt

Guido van Rossum wearing "Python is for girls" shirt

Thank you to our interviewees and guest writers this month, and your astounding (even — or especially — to us) accounts of how the Ada Initiative has affected your life and work: Ellen Spertus, N. K. Jemisin, Mary Robinette Kowal, Guido van Rossum, Rachel Chalmers, Kronda Adair, Stephanie Zvan, Amelia Greenhall, PZ Myers, Sue Gardner, Netha Hussain and Sumana Harihareswara.

An additional thank you to N. K. Jemisin for donating copies of her novel The Killing Moon and Mary Robinette Kowal for donating copies of her novel Valour and Vanity as donor thank you gifts. Don't forget: a set of hardcover copies Mary's series The Glamourist Histories together with a signed manuscript of the upcoming fifth book Of Noble Family, is being auctioned by Con or Bust right now to raise money for fans of color to attend SFF conventions!

Thank you community fundraisers!

Two smiling women, one wearing a silly tiara

CC BY-SA Jenna Saint Martin Photo

Each of these campaigns has, as well as supporting the Ada Initiative's important work, made critical and concrete steps to improve their community for women.

If we left you or your community out of this list, thank you and we're sorry!! This fundraiser was so much bigger than we expected and we're sure we lost track of something. Please contact us immediately and we'd be thrilled to add you to this list.

And of course, we thank all of our more than 1100 donors, including the more than 700 who gave us permission to share their names:

@bohyunkim
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How I made a tidepool: Implementing the Friendly Space Policy for Wikimedia Foundation technical events

smiling woman

Sumana Harihareswara
CC-BY Guillaume Paumier

This is a guest post by Sumana Harihareswara, a writer, programmer, Wikipedian, editor, community manager, fan, and member of the Ada Initiative board of directors.

Back when I worked at the Wikimedia Foundation, I used the Ada Initiative's anti-harassment policy as a template and turned it into the Friendly Space Policy covering tech events run by WMF. I offer you this case study because I think reading about the social and logistical work involved might be inspiring and edifying, and to ask you to please donate to the Ada Initiative today.

Donate now

Wikimedia hackathon in Berlin, 2012, by Guillaume Paumier (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons I was working for Wikimedia Foundation for ~8 months before I broached the topic of a conference anti-harassment policy with the higher-ups – my boss & my boss's boss, both of whom liked the idea and backed me 100%. (I did not actually ask HR, although in retrospect I could have.) My bosses both knew that Not So Great things happen at conferences and they saw why I wanted this. They said they'd have my back if I got any flak.

So I borrowed the Ada Initiative's policy and modified it a little for our needs, and placed my draft on a subpage of my user page on our wiki. Then I briefly announced it to the mailing list where my open source community, MediaWiki, talks. I specifically framed this as not a big deal and something that lots of conferences were doing, and said I wanted to get it in place in time for the hackathon later that month. Approximately everyone in our dev community said "sure" or "could this be even broader?" or "this is a great idea", as you can see in that thread and in the wiki page's history and the talk page.

Sumana with two other women running Wikimedia hackathon in Berlin, 2012, by Yves Tennevin [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons I usually telecommuted to WMF, but I happened to be in San Francisco in preparation for the hackathon, and was able to speak to colleagues in person. My colleague Dana Isokawa pointed out that the phrasing "Anti-harassment policy" was offputting. I agreed with her that I'd prefer something more positive, and I asked some colleagues for suggestions on renaming it. My colleague Heather Walls suggested "Friendly Space Policy". In a pre-hackathon prep meeting, I mentioned the new policy and asked whether people liked the name "Friendly Space Policy," and everyone liked it.

Sumana teaching a Git workshop at Wikimedia hackathon in Amsterdam, 2013, by Sebastiaan ter Burg from Utrecht, The Netherlands (Wikimedia Hackathon 2013, Amsterdam) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons So I made it an official Policy; I announced it to our developer community and I put it on wikimediafoundation.org.

This might have been the end of it. But a day later, I saw a question from one community member on the more general community-wide mailing list that includes other Wikimedia contributors (editors/uploaders/etc.). That person, who had seen but not commented on the discussion on the wiki or on the developers' list, wanted to slow down adoption and proposed some red tape: a requirement that this policy be passed by a resolution of the Wikimedia Foundation's Board of Trustees (so, basically, the ultimate authority on the topic).

Wikimedia hackathon in Amsterdam in 2013, by User:Multichill (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
But approximately everyone on the community-wide list also thought the policy was fine — both volunteers and paid WMF staffers. For instance, one colleague said:

"If a policy makes good sense, we clearly need it, and feedback about the text is mostly positive, then we should adopt it. Rejecting a good idea because of process wonkery is stupid.

Sumana is not declaring that she gets to force arbitrary rules on everyone whenever she wants. She is solving a problem for us."

My boss's boss also defended the policy, as did a member of the Board of Trustees.

"Perhaps you misread the width of this policy. Staff can and generally do set policies affecting WMF-run processes and events."

I didn't even have to respond on-list since all these other guys (yes, nearly all or all guys) did my work for me.

Sumana and other Wikimedians enjoying a canal ride during the Amsterdam 2013 hackathon, by Andy Mabbett (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons I was so happy to receive deep and wide support, and to help strengthen the legitimacy of this particular kind of governance decision: consensus, including volunteers, led by a particular WMF staffer. And, even though I had only proposed it for a particularly limited set of events (Wikimedia-sponsored face-to-face technical events), the idea spread to other affiliated organizations (such as Wikimedia UK) and offline events (Wikimania, our flagship conference — thank you, Sarah Stierch, for your work on that!). And the next year, a volunteer led a session at Wikimania to discuss a potential online Friendly Space Policy:

"Explore what elements are essential for you in such a policy and what we can do collectively to adopt such a policy for Wikipedia and other Wikimedia websites."

Lydia Pintscher and Lila Tretikov at the Wikimedia hackathon in Zurich, 2014, by Ludovic P (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons So perhaps someday, all Wikipedia editors and other Wikimedia contributors will enjoy a safer environment, online as well as offline! I feel warm and joyous that the discussion I launched had, and is having, ripple effects. I felt like I took a gamble, and I looked back to see why it worked. A few reasons:

  • The Ada Initiative's template. I cannot imagine writing something that good from scratch. Having that template to customize for our needs made this gamble possible at all.
  • I started the discussion in January 2012; I had joined Wikimedia Foundation (part-time) in March 2011. So I had already built up a bunch of community cred and social capital.
  • In early 2012, open source citizens saw more and more reports of hostile behavior at conferences; people saw the need for a policy.
  • I added "or preferred Creative Commons license" to the big list of attributes (gender, disability, etc.), which gave the document a touch of Wikimedia-specific wit right at the start of the policy.
  • Sumana teaching a workshop participant at the Wikimedia hackathon in Amsterdam, 2013, by Sebastiaan ter Burg from Utrecht, The Netherlands (Wikimedia Hackathon 2013) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons I balanced decisiveness and leadership with openness to others' ideas.
  • Honestly, I narrowly focused the policy to an area where my opinion carried weight and I held some legitimate authority (both earned and given), phrased my announcement nonchalantly and confidently, and ran the consensus process pretty transparently. I believe it was hard to disagree without looking like a jerk. ;-)

(If you can privately talk with decisionmakers who have have top-down authority to implement a code of conduct, then you can use another unfortunate tool: point to past incidents that feel close, because they happened to your org or to ones like it.)

Indic Wikimedians gathering at Wikimania, 9 August 2013 in Hong Kong, by Subhashish Panigrahi (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons By implementing our Friendly Space Policy, I created what I think of as a tidepool:

"…places where certain people can sort of rest and vent and collaborate, and ask the questions they feel afraid of asking in public, so they can gain the strength and confidence to go further out, into the invite-only spaces or the very public spaces….spaces where everybody coming in agrees to follow the same rules so it's a place where you feel safer — these are like tidepools, places where certain kinds of people and certain kinds of behavior can be nurtured and grown so that it’s ready to go out into the wider ocean."

With the help of the Ada Initiative's policy adoption resources, you can make a place like that too — and if you feel that you don't have top-down authority, perhaps that no one in your community does, then take heart from my story. If you have a few allies, you don't have to change the ocean. You can make a tidepool, and that's a start.

Donate now

Netha Hussain: “My dream came true! AdaCamp is coming to Bangalore!”

A woman wearing a shawl standing in front of tropical vegetation

Medical student, Wikipedian and AdaCamper Netha Hussain, CC BY-SA Netha Hussain

On the final day of our 2014 fundraising campaign, we interview our amazing long-time volunteer and soon to be three-time AdaCamp alumna, Netha Hussain! Netha is a Wikipedian, writer, and medical student, living in the state of Kerala, India. She attended AdaCamp DC in 2012 on an international travel scholarship from Google. She described her experience this way: "Yes, AdaCamp literally changed my life." Now, two years later, she is helping the Ada Initiative bring AdaCamp to Bangalore!

AdaCamp Bangalore will be the first ever AdaCamp in Asia, and we hope it will be as transformational for others as it was for Netha! We talked to Netha about her initial experiences at AdaCamp and her hopes for AdaCamp Bangalore. To support future AdaCamps, donate now and help us continue to scale up our work!

Donate now

Ada Initiative: How has AdaCamp changed your life?

Two women smiling, one with a t-shirt that reads "I edit Wikipedia" and one wearing an Ada Initiative button

Wikimedians at AdaCamp DC
CC BY-SA Adam Novak

Netha: AdaCamp changed my life by giving me opportunities to network with the right people to begin new projects on Wikimedia. I attended AdaCamp in 2012 when I was exploring ideas which I would not have managed to execute on my own. While at AdaCamp, I got to meet many wonderful people who were thinking along the same lines as I was.

Tell us about AdaCamp Bangalore. What are you most excited about? What are your hopes for the event? What new possibilities do you see in holding an AdaCamp in Bangalore?

While at AdaCamp 2012, I expressed interest in bringing AdaCamp to India. Two years later, my dream came true! I am very excited that many South Asian women will benefit from AdaCamp. I am also excited about learning new perspectives and best practices in working with women in open tech from an Indian context, a unique takeaway which only AdaCamp can offer. I hope to see new projects shaping up and women's communities getting more active in South Asia as a result of this camp.

How did you first become involved with the Ada Initiative and what is most important to you about this work?

I first got involved with the Ada Initiative when I received an invitation to participate in AdaCamp DC with a full scholarship. AdaCamp DC had many participants from Wikimedia, the organization I volunteer with. It would not have been possible to develop a lasting partnership with these people without the AdaCamp experience because of cultural communication problems involving communicating solely online.

How has your experience in medical school changed as a result of your involvement with the Ada Initiative?

AdaCamp

AdaCamp sticker

After AdaCamp, I became more sensitive about privacy and medical ethics, which are integral for any medical practitioner. I gained contacts with participants who were working in the healthcare sector elsewhere in the world and learned about their work culture. The fun thing is that the kids at the pediatrics ward loved the Ada Initiative stickers I took back home after AdaCamp. :-)

What is the best thing about AdaCamp?

Two women smiling

AdaCampers in Portland CC BY-SA Jenna Saint Martin Photo

The “unconference” format! I thoroughly enjoyed that I could propose any number of sessions of my choice. The knowledge that I am welcome at any of the parallel unconference sessions and that my perspectives are valued by the attendees is an incredible feeling!

We are grateful for Netha’s vision, commitment and support in bringing AdaCamp to Bangalore! Because of our strong commitment to keeping AdaCamp accessible to all, the Ada Initiative loses money with each AdaCamp that we hold – corporate sponsorships are harder to get for many small AdaCamps around the world, but more we reach the women who need it most that way. Donate now to the Ada Initiative and help us continue to grow the reach of AdaCamp!

Donate now

New stretch goal: T-shirts with "Not afraid to say the F-word: Feminism" logo!

A black t shirt with the text "Not afraid to say the F-word: feminism adainitiative.org"

Wow!!! We had to scramble to put together a new stretch goal after our first stretch goal was met in less than 36 hours! Here's what we came up with for a $200,000 stretch goal:

T-shirts. Specifically, feminist t-shirts. Specifically, feminist t-shirts with the words "Not afraid to say the F-word: Feminism" using the design from our new sticker on a black background, in a wide range of straight and fitted sizes to fit a variety of body types.

If we reach our $200,000 stretch goal by Wednesday midnight Pacific time, we will offer these t-shirts as thank-you gifts for donations on our web site later this year in time for December gift-giving. We're not sure what level of donation the t-shirt will be a reward for yet (grumble grumble complicated IRS donation rules) but we do know we will offer them retroactively to people who donated $1024 or more in 2014. If that excites you, donate now (and get matching F-word stickers to tide you over):

Donate now

80 women cheering and wearing many different colors, CC BY-SA Jenna Saint Martin Photo

Happy AdaCampers!
CC BY-SA Jenna Saint Martin Photo

Raising $200,000 will let us scale up our programs to meet the existing demand for them. All three AdaCamps this year sold out weeks early, we're booked with Ally Skills Workshops through to January, and we expect our first standalone Impostor Syndrome Training classes to sell out too!

We're already operating at maximum capacity, so to run enough AdaCamps and training classes for everyone who wants them, we'll need to hire and train more staff. Raising $200,000 will let the Ada Initiative expand to meet the demand for our programs – and give us the time to design and make the very best feminist propaganda possible (like this t-shirt).

Smiling woman

Amelia Greenhall, designer and feminist activist

We will work with the designer of this logo, Amelia Greenhall, to tweak the final design a bit, so the final shirts may not look exactly like this. In particular, we are (perhaps over-optimistically) trying to figure out how to make a shirt that works for breastfeeding, and we generally avoid putting design elements across the breasts. As usual, we will follow the guidelines for feminist t-shirts as laid out on the Geek Feminism wiki and publicized by Alex "Skud" Bayley – highly recommended reading if your organization or conference makes t-shirts! But it will be a black t-shirt with these words and design elements, and we can't wait to try one on!

Help the Ada Initiative expand – and maybe your wardrobe as well! Donate now:

Donate now

Sticker reading "Not afraid to say the F-WORD: FEMINISM adainitiative.org" on a colorful laptop skin

Help scale up the Ada Initiative's work & 48 hours left to get your feminist sticker pack!

80 women cheering and wearing many different colors, CC BY-SA Jenna Saint Martin Photo

CC BY-SA Jenna Saint Martin Photo

Our yearly fundraiser is ALMOST OVER! With 2 days to go, you've raised over $165,000 to support women in open tech/culture! But that also means you have less than 48 hours to get your feminist sticker pack, including our brand-new "Not afraid to say the F-word: FEMINISM" sticker.

Join over 900 people who donated to the Ada Initiative in the last month and get your feminist stickers before it's too late (or help spread the word if you've already donated):

Black and white sticker with text reading "Not afraid to say the F-WORD adainitiative.org"

Donate now

The Ada Initiative needs your help to scale up our work across the board in 2015. All three 2014 AdaCamps sold out weeks early, we have Ally Skills Workshops booked through to January 2015, and we will open registration for our first standalone Impostor Syndrome training in just a few weeks! The Ada Initiative needs to grow to serve the demand for our work, and this fundraiser is how we're going to do it!

With just $100,000 raised in 2014, we helped thousands of people in dozens of communities: libraries, skeptics, science fiction and fantasy, open source software, Wikipedia, open street mapping, and much more. And if we hit our next stretch goal of $175,000, we will train 15 Ally Skills Workshop teachers at WisCon 39, the world's leading feminist science fiction convention, where people from at least 5 different open tech/culture communities converge!

Donate now

Thank you to the over 900 people who donated to and spread the word about the Ada Initiative over the last month. The donors who gave us permission to publicly list their names are:

@bohyunkim
@cynpy
@cynpy
@elplatt
@gedankenstuecke
@gergdotca
@ianweller
@kjrtech
@tedder42
@thebackpack08
@tikkachurin
@urcadox
@vibragiel
@wdonohue
@wickman
A. Jesse Jiryu Davis
Aaron Levin / Weird Canada
Aaron M
Aaron Miller
Adam C. Foltzer
Adam C. Foltzer
Adam Lee
Adrienne Roehrich
Alan McConchie
Alejandro Cabrera
AlephCloud Systems
Aliandria
Alice Boxhall
Alicia Gibb
Alina Banerjee
Alison Hitchens
Allison Granted
Allyson J. Bennett
Amandine
Amy F. Bocko
Amy Kautzman
Anaerobeth
Anders Pearson
André Arko
Andre M. Bach
Andrea Horbinski
Andrea Snyder
Andreas Dilger
Andrew Berger
Andrew Garrett
Andrew Sutherland
Andromeda Yelton
Andy Adams-Moran
Andy Shuping
Anil Madhavapeddy
Anjanette Young
Ankita
Annalee Flower Horne
Anne Jefferson
Annmargar
Anonymous
Anthony Karosas
Antonio D'souza
arduinogirl
Ari
Aria Stewart
Ariaflame
Art Gillespie
Ayla Stein
B. Albritton
Barnaby Walters
Beau Gunderson
Ben Blum
Ben Chapman
Ben Finney
Ben Hughes
Benjamin B
Benjamin Treynor Sloss
Bernard Yu
Bess Sadler
Beth Warner
Bethany Lister
Bill Dueber
Bill Landis
BKM
Bo Brinkman
Bobbi Fox
Brenda Moon
Brendan Long
Brent Yorgey
BrerScientist
Britta Gustafson
Bruce Cran
Bruce Cran
Bruce Lechat
Bruce Washburn
Bryan Horstmann-Allen
Camille Baldock
Candy Schwartz
Caridad!
Carl
Carlo Angiuli
Carol Willing
Casey G.
Catalin D Voinescu
Catherine Cronin
Cathy Aster
Cecily Walker
Chad Nelson
Charles Hawkins
Charles Hooper
Charles Miller
Chelsea D
Cheng H. Lee
Choo Khor
Chris Adams
Chris Bourg
Chris Ford
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Chris Martens
Chris Mulligan
Chris Petrilli
Chris Strauber
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Christine Spang
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Colin Barrett
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Colleen
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Coral Sheldon-Hess
Corey "cmr" Richardson
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CV Harquail, FeministsAtWork.com
Dale Askey
Damien Sullivan
Dan
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Dan Hicks
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You did it! New stretch goal: $175,000 to train Ally Skills Workshop teachers at WisCon!

80 women cheering and wearing many different colors, CC BY-SA Jenna Saint Martin PhotoWe're amazed – your incredible generosity means we reached our $150,000 fundraising goal 3 days early! So we've create an exciting new stretch goal:

If we raise $175,000 by Wednesday night, we will train up to 15 new Ally Skills Workshop leaders at WisCon 39, the world's leading feminist science fiction convention!

Here's why this goal is so exciting: At WisCon, we can reach hundreds of people in 5 different open technology and culture communities with one 6 hour workshop! If you are excited too, please donate now or help us spread the word!

Donate now

A woman explains while a man listens

Ally Skills Workshop discussion

The Ally Skills Workshop teaches men simple everyday ways to support women in their communities. In three hours, one person can create 30 new advocates for women in their community or workplace. One client said, "We've run the [Ally Skills Workshop] 4 times and the impact has been fantastic. This workshop has been the catalyst for many 'a-ha' moments." All the materials needed to teach the Ally Skills Workshop are available free online under the CC BY-SA license, but most people need to attend a train-the-trainers session before they feel confident teaching the Ally Skills Workshop themselves.

WisCon is the ideal place to teach a train-the-trainers session. WisCon is a crossroads for feminist activists in all areas of open technology and culture: open source software, libraries, Wikipedia, open data, and of course, fandom. If the Ada Initiative teaches 15 people at WisCon to lead the Ally Skills Workshop, we can spread these skills to five communities rather than just one, as would be the case at most other conferences.

OfNobleFamily-400-220x328We have another exciting announcement to make! We've donated one of Mary Robinette Kowal's gifts to Con or Bust: a signed manuscript of the fifth novel in her "Glamourist Histories" series, "Of Noble Family," more than 6 months before it will be released in stores! They're auctioning it off right now.

If you're not already familiar with Con or Bust, it's an organization that raises money to send people of color to science fiction conventions who could not otherwise afford to attend (including WisCon). They do crucial and important work, and Con or Bust's work means even more people will have a chance to attend the Ally Skills Workshop train-the-trainers at WisCon. Con or Bust is auctioning off the manuscript right now, so go bid on it! (We found that even though lots of people donated enough to get the manuscript, they seemed to feel bad about taking "the last one" – the ten copies of MRK's fourth novel in the series were snapped up, though!)

Two women smiling, CC BY-SA Adam Novak

We're this excited about WisCon! CC BY-SA Adam Novak

The Ally Skills Workshop train-the-trainers program took several weeks to develop and each new session requires about a staff-week of time to prepare and teach, which is time we're not spending organizing AdaCamp or teaching paying workshops. With a staff of 3 people, we can't afford to teach the train-the-trainers for free more than once or twice a year without breaking our budget. But if we can reach our stretch goal of $175,000, we can't think of a more effective and higher-leverage way to spend a week! (Also, WisCon is just plain fun, and we want an excuse to go back.)

We'll leave you with some quotes from Ally Skills Workshop attendees:

"We've run the [Ally Skills Workshop] 4 times and the impact has been fantastic. This workshop has been the catalyst for many "a-ha" moments. People who understood bias exists in a very logical way, were able to see, through the conversation with peers about the very relevant scenarios, and connect emotionally with the impact bias has on the colleagues they respect and interact with daily." – Anonymous train-the-trainers client

"Change is uncomfortable. This workshop helped me be comfortable about being uncomfortable. Once that is addressed it opens a path for improvement, personally and for our industry." – Kris Amundson

"It gave me some starts towards being comfortable acting in situations of casual sexism—and that would extend to other -isms. I'd like to do it again at some point, to gain even more confidence. I also loved the very explicit focus on consent, the fact that people's dietary preferences were respected, and generally the nice-ness of the whole workshop!" – Kamal Marhubi

Donate now, and help us spread the Ally Skills Workshop to open tech/culture communities around the world!

Donate now

Sue Gardner: "In Silicon Valley we have on-site hair-cut buses and dry-cleaning and celebrity chefs, but we don't offer daycare"

Photograph of Sue Gardner speaking at Wikimania 2011

Sue Gardner, © Martina Nolte, CC BY-SA

Sue Gardner is a fearless feminist! She is also a seasoned leader who works actively to promote the contributions of women in the Silicon Valley tech sector. Sue was CEO of the Wikimedia Foundation for seven years, and served as a Senior Director in public broadcasting for many years before that. She was a founding member of the Ada Initiative's Board of Directors. We are grateful for her leadership, courage and support! Please join her in supporting the Ada Initiative, and donate now!

Donate now

"I worked in public broadcasting for the majority of my career at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and we had a lot of women in positions of authority there," recalls Sue Gardner. "I had feminist role models, who invested in women. When I moved to the Bay Area to take over Wikimedia, I was astonished and honestly angry at the lack of women, everywhere!"

Gardner recalls her initial three-month tour of the Bay Area, getting to know key contacts in the tech and open source community. "I had dozens of meetings and in that time I did not meet a single woman who was not bringing us drinks in the board room or scheduling our meetings. At one point I started trying to place the year culturally in Silicon Valley tech – was it 1967? 1972?"

A woman speaking in front of a laptop

Valerie Aurora, CC BY-SA Adam Novak.

Puzzled and disturbed, Sue began searching for relevant articles and literature to give her a wider perspective and came across "How to Encourage Women in Linux", an article that Ada Initiative co-founder Valerie Aurora had written in 2002.

"It was so helpful to read because I could reverse-engineer out of it some of the main obstacles that were keeping women out of tech," she says. "And it was fascinating to me because it both addressed why there were so few women in Linux and also how to encourage the women who were braving the difficult environment. It gave specific examples of things not to do (i.e. don't tell sexist jokes) and also examples of pro-active actions to take (i.e. protest when others tell sexist jokes)."

Gardner was thrilled when Val and Mary committed themselves to working for women in tech full-time and founded the Ada Initiative. She was a member of the Board of Directors for three years and continues to serve on the Advisory Board.

"The founding of the Ada Initiative was so special and important because, first of all, somebody was putting up their hand to actually do something. And because Val worked on the Linux kernel, she came from inside and brought true subject matter expertise to bring to the issue. She really knew the terrain and the culture. To have both of those things – the gender expertise and the subject expertise was incredibly unusual. I was excited and got involved."

Mary Gardiner speaking with upraised hand

Mary Gardiner speaking at Wikimania, CC-BY-SA Alejandro Linares Garcia

Gardner brought the Ada Initiative in to help Wikimedia in a number of ways. "We asked them to help us design the Wikimania anti-harassment code of conduct and enforce it at the conference," she says. "They also ran an AdaCamp at Wikimania in late 2012. And Val vetted many of our technical job descriptions, as well as our hiring process so that Wikimedia tech positions were friendly to the women we wanted to attract."

When asked about her response to the tech industry’s dearth of women, Gardner responded with the broad perspective that comes with long-term experience. "I'm a boss. I run things. So I think a lot about effectiveness and efficiency and use of resources. From that perspective I find the situation offensive because there are only two things you can believe. You can believe that women are less capable than men or you can believe that women are undervalued. And that is wasteful. It offends me as a manager and a boss, that we would not make use of this resource, that we would stand by as women fall out of the pipeline."

80 women cheering and wearing many different colors, CC BY-SA Jenna Saint Martin Photo

All AdaCamps offer free childcare, CC BY-SA Jenna Saint Martin Photo

She goes on to talk about the irrationality that is encoded in much of tech culture – the decisions made by men in positions in authority based on what they need and desire. "It would serve us well, as funders and bosses to try to catch ourselves when we are being irrational," she says. "In Silicon Valley we have on-site hair-cut buses and dry-cleaning and celebrity chefs, but we don't offer daycare."

She is grateful for the Ada Initiative's work and the tangible impact and results that she has seen. "My experience with Ada is that they are doing really great work and it is long overdue and it needs to happen," she says. "This is not the kind of problem that gets solved by one intervention, but they are a key piece. Part of the value of Ada is that they make it safe for women to have these conversations – the kind of conversations that second wave feminists had in the business world decades ago. They put the conversation on the agenda and make space for them to happen."

We are so grateful for Sue's expertise, good words and support! Please join her in supporting the Ada Initiative and help us reach our 2014 fundraising goal, so we can continue to scale up our work!

Donate now

Help bring the Ada Initiative's Ally Skills Workshop to Skepticon 7!

Smiling woman

Valerie Aurora, Ada Initiative co-founder

Skeptics are raising $5,000 for the Ada Initiative by October 8th – and if we succeed, our executive director, Valerie Aurora, will teach an Ally Skills Workshop at Skepticon 7! The Ally Skills Workshop teaches men simple ways to fight sexism in their everyday lives, and people love it. Sound exciting? Read on to find out how you can help bring the Ally Skills Workshop to Skepticon!

Donate now

Here's what Lauren Lane of Skepticon has to say on why they support the Ada Initiative:

"The Ada Initiative does so much amazing stuff, like offer anti-harassment policies used by hundreds of conferences, give out out information about ally skills for men so women don’t have to fight sexism alone, host feminist conferences for women to share lessons learned and support each other, and are doing amazing work training women to fight Impostor Syndrome and stay involved in open tech/culture. In short, these people are totally kickass and we need them." [Emphasis theirs]

Are you excited yet?? We are, we have heard so much about how fun skeptic conferences are, and Valerie can't wait to meet Stephanie Zvan, PZ Myers, and everyone else we've worked with over the years!

If you'd like to help bring the Ally Skills Workshop to Skepticon, here's what you can do:

Donate now (I know, obvious).

Tweet or share this post on on social media with the #skeptics4ada hashtag.

Blog about the skeptic donation challenge, and include the donation counter and donation button with this HTML:

<a href="https://supportada.org?campaign=skeptics"><img src="https://adainitiative.org/counters/2014counter-skeptics.svg"></a>

<a href="https://supportada.org?campaign=skeptics"><img alt="Donate now" style="box-shadow: none;" src="http://adainitiative.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/donate_red_small.png"></a>

Thank you for your help, and hope to see you at Skepticon!

Skeptic and scientist PZ Myers came for the Ada Lovelace jewelry, stayed for the Ada Initiative's anti-harassment work

Bearded man wearing glasses

Biologist and skeptic PZ Myers

We can't say enough about PZ Myers, a proud feminist and Ada Initiative supporter! By trade, Myers is a biologist and associate professor at the University of Minnesota, Morris. He is also founder and co-author of the popular Pharyngula science blog, and a well-known speaker and blogger in the skeptic and atheist community. Read more to find out why he raised $1878 to help us expand our work – and how you can help bring the Ada Initiative to teach an Ally Skills Workshop at Skepticon 7!

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One man and two women, two of them wearing mortarboards

PZ Myers and the scientists in his life

"I come from a very left-wing family that was into the labor movement and the like. So I’ve always been into being egalitarian, and giving everyone a chance," PZ Myers remarks. "My wife is a Ph.D in psychology and my daughter is off at grad school and I just hate to see them being discriminated against." Channeling his anger into activism, Myers speaks out regularly about feminist issues on his blog, Pharyngula, with both searing honesty and an unfailing sense of humor.

"I think in some ways it's a personality trait," he says. "I'm somebody who tends to be outspoken and if I see an injustice I will speak out about it. Racism and sexism are the great injustices of the American system right now. And I just can't sit back and pretend it's not happening. I have to speak out, and I believe that is everybody's responsibility to fight this stuff." That's one reason he has many times over the years used his blog and standing in the community to amplify reports of sexual harassment and publish anonymous reports from people too scared to do so themselves.

Sticker reading "Not afraid to say the F-WORD: FEMINISM adainitiative.org" on a colorful laptop skin

The pendants are gone but you can get a sticker instead!

Myers ran across the Ada Initiative when his daughter was in graduate school in computer science. "I remember there was a drive where you received a necklace with a little Ada Lovelace on it," he says, "and I thought, 'I should get that for my daughter!'"

As he discovered more about the Ada Initiative's work his support became about his own beliefs. One of the things he appreciates most is the impact of our work in just a few years' time: helping conference organizers adopt and enforce anti-harassment policies has a direct impact on women's safety and attendance at skeptic conferences, as well as changed the conversation about sexual harassment throughout the entire community. "That's why I like the Ada Initiative and your work,” he says. "You're actually getting out there and making a tangible difference and that's what we need more of!"

Myers notices this need daily in his own professional life. "I'm a college professor and biology is pretty good – we’ve almost got a 50/50 gender split," he acknowledges. "But my daughter was a tiny minority in computer science. I think I can also speak for my colleagues who would also like to see more women in the field. It just strikes me as an area where we need to improve equality."

Though Myers supports the Ada Initiative yearly, this year he has also become a successful fundraiser for our work! He has been collecting donations on his blog over the past month and as of October 1st, he and the skeptic community raised $1878 for the Ada Initiative. We are so grateful for his support and his activism! Please join him and make a donation today!

This brings skeptics more than a third of the way to their goal of $5,000 by midnight on Wednesday, October 8th. If they make it, the Ada Initiative will teach an Ally Skills Workshop at Skepticon in November! The Ally Skills Workshop teaches men simple everyday ways to respond to sexism in their daily lives, and is tailored especially for peer-to-peer communities like the skeptic and atheist movement. We're excited too – after working with the skeptic community for so long, the Ada Initiative is excited to meet a few of you in person!

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Great design as activism: Real talk from "Not afraid to say the F-word: Feminism" sticker designer Amelia Greenhall

The evolution of the f-word sticker design

The evolution of the f-word sticker design (get yours here)

Once you see it, you won't forget it: the dynamic and attention-getting Not afraid to say the F-word: FEMINISM sticker by Amelia Greenhall. This sticker is the Ada Initiative's thank-you gift for its 2014 fundraising drive (only available till October 8, 2014, so donate now!).

Smiling woman

Amelia Greenhall

Amelia works at the intersection of design, user experience, and data visualization. She's the Executive Director and co-founder of Double Union, a non-profit feminist community workshop, and co-founded the publication Model View Culture. She spends her time reading, writing, biking, climbing, and working on interesting things. We asked Amelia to tell us more about her amazing sticker design.

How did you come up with the idea for the sticker?

Feminism as a "dirty word" is a concept that’s funny because it strikes at the truth of the matter: a lot of people and organizations ARE afraid to say it. The Ada Initiative was one of the first woman-focused tech organizations to actually say the word "feminism." Their work has profoundly changed tech culture, and part of it comes from opening up the ability to identify publicly as a feminist in tech. They’ve brought many of us who aren’t afraid to say "the F-word" together – and given us a way to do something about the problem, by funding the Ada Initiative's work.

The sticker sure is eye-catching! It feels like it has many levels to it, despite being all black and white. How did you achieve that?

From the beginning, I knew I would work with hand lettering for this design because I wanted to create an organic form that stands out against the mass of vectorized, illustrator'd shapes on a laptop. I wanted the fundraiser sticker to be a refreshing visual break from tech culture’s dominant (current) forms, to echo how TAI represents changing tech culture to me.

Ink bottles and brushes

Amelia's workspace, with ink and brush

I started by drawing potential layouts in my sketchbook until I found a rough shape that took advantage of the die cut. Then I used brushes and india ink to letter the phrases “Not afraid to” “F-word” in many different ways, and scanned those in at a super high DPI to capture all the little details in the brushstrokes.

Many different handwritten versions of the words "F-word: Feminism" and similar words

Intermediate sketches of the f-word sticker design

Using Photoshop and my Wacom tablet, I moved parts of the scans around until I found a combination of lettering that was playful and eye catching, and easy to read at the size I wanted to print the sticker.

Photoshop screenshot showing level adjustment

The sticker does have many levels! Working from scans of hand lettering let me use Photoshop tools like “Invert” and “Levels” to bring out the natural variations in the ink painted on paper. I wanted to hit a charcoal tint in the background and bring out the rich variations of ink in the letters.

How important are design and memorable images to feminist activism?

So incredibly crucial! One of the things we’re doing with our feminist activism is building our own community and design and memorable images are a huge part in building a movement. We need a visual language to talk about it with, to identify with and gather round. Imagery of high heels and business suits alone won’t cut it. To represent all of us working to improve tech culture – we need things that speak our own language, have tech snark, incorporate our memes. We need propaganda! Especially physical objects like stickers, buttons, totes, and posters – to act as signposts. Things that say “this is us, this is what we stand for!”

Will you be putting this sticker on something you own?

Yes! I’m primarily a printmaker, which means I design so many things that get printed in multiples that I couldn’t possibly keep everything around or my apartment would fill up! But this is a sticker that easily makes the cut.

Here’s how it looks on my laptop!

Silver laptop with f-word sticker on it

What I appreciate about stickers like this one is that they’re so great for signaling affinity. I know that if I see another “F-word” sticker across the room at a coffeeshop or conference, that person is someone who’s also trying to make tech better – someone I may want to go talk to! I also like that this sticker starts conversations – it’s definitely something that catches the eye.

I am a huge fan of the Ada Initiative’s work changing tech culture, so I love when people ask about the sticker – I get a chance to introduce someone to conference anti-harassment policies or ally skills workshops!

Do you say the f-word? F-F-FEMINISM! Donate $128 or more (or $10 a month) to the Ada Initiative before October 8 and receive the F-word sticker as a thank you gift for supporting our work for women in open technology and culture!

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